Thanks to Bernadine Joselyn for sending me a recent report out of the Public Policy for California (Does Broadband Boost Local Economic Development?). Here’s a quick excerpt:
Our analysis indicates a positive relationship between broadband expansion and economic growth. The relationship is stronger in industries that rely more on information technology and in areas with lower population densities. Although the evidence leans in the direction of a causal relationship, the data and methods do not definitively indicate that broadband caused this economic growth.
They looked at the impact of broadband on residents too. Apparently broadband is associated with population growth, but that employment rate and average wage were unchanged. I was surprised to hear that access to broadband does not change the prevalence of telecommuting or other home-based work. I wonder if that would be different now, with the economy where it is now. I think lost jobs and broadband could be a recipe for increased home-based businesses, but of course I’m speculating.
The research is out of California. They use data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data on broadband beginning in 1999, and our source for detailed employment data ends in 2006. The research does a good job of outlining the California policies and making the connection between them and the opportunities for growth. California has some policies that would be worth duplicating on a national level!